Trying to definitively name the greatest action hero to ever grace the big screen always throws up plenty of contenders, with the usual suspects tending to find themselves in or around the conversation. Bruce Willis may have descended into VOD mediocrity, but he was John McClane in Die Hard, so he’ll always be part of the discourse.
Nicolas Cage, meanwhile, faced a similar fate before rebounding by signing onto the craziest projects that came his way, but anyone who headlined The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off in the space of twelve months deserves to be called one of the very best. Then there’s Jason Statham, cinema’s resident king of the B-level action thriller, while the John Wick franchise has seen Keanu Reeves once again stake his claim having already starred in Point Break, Speed and The Matrix.
Of course, there are two names on almost everyone’s list, and we shouldn’t have to tell you that they belong to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The two hulking specimens dominated the genre for well over a decade, and while they may have put their personal and professional differences to one side, they’re still trolling each other to this day.
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Betting website BetVictor has now compiled an algorithm to put the debate to bed, though, based on the five biggest actioners from ten of the genre’s most famous faces. Using variables like punches thrown, bad guys defeated, near-death escapes, box office totals, review averages and catchphrases, Arnold Schwarzenegger was named as the greatest action hero of all-time.
The rest of the list was rounded out by Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Michelle Rodriguez, Michelle Yeoh and Pam Grier, and it isn’t a shock to discover that 60% of them appeared in at least one Expendables movie.